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Concerning UK Gender Pay Gap Statistics for 2023

Concerning UK Gender Pay Gap Statistics for 2023

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Did you know only 30% of British respondents knew the correct definition of the gender pay gap? Unlike equal pay, which is men and women receiving equal pay for the same job, the gender pay gap refers to the difference in pay between the average male employee and the average female employee.

In this article, we will give you the latest, most important gender pay gap statistics for the UK, along with some explanations for this phenomenon and the changes that have happened in the last several decades. Read on and stay informed!

Key Gender Pay Gap Statistics for the UK in 2023

  • In 2021, the gender pay gap in the UK equalled 15.4%.

  • In 2020, 78% of companies reported their median hourly pay was higher for men.

  • At 30%, the finance and insurance sector has the highest gender wage gap in the UK.

  • There’s an 18.9% gender wage gap for hospital doctors.

  • Male travel agents and tour operators earned 30% more on average.

  • The gender wage gap increases significantly with age.

  • Between 1997 and 2021, the gender gap for women in their forties fell by half.

  • The gender pay gap grows in the years after having children.

  • 28% of women work in the lowest-paying occupations, compared to 15% of men.

Gender Pay Gap Statistics in the UK

Globally, the average woman makes only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

While the gap in average wages is evident globally and regardless of industry, it’s even wider for mothers, women of colour, and immigrant women. Caring for children and the elderly, as well as other forms of unpaid work, push women into the informal economy or stop them from working full-time. Women generally choose different types of jobs, while at the same time, women’s work tends to be undervalued. 

(UN Women)

In 2021, the gender pay gap in the UK equalled 15.4%.

Last year, men’s average hourly earnings were 15.4% higher than women’s for all workers, 7.9% for full-time workers, and -2.7% for part-time workers. On a brighter note, compared to the beginning of the research in 1997, the gap for all workers has shrunk by 12.1%, 9.5% for full-time and 2.1% for part-time workers. 


The average UK woman makes £14.87 per hour, compared to the average man who earns £16.25 per hour.

Gender pay gap statistics show men’s and women’s median hourly wages have differed significantly since the beginning of the research period in 1997. The hourly difference is reflected in annual wages. It adds up to about £5.1 thousand per year on average, with wages of £33.4 thousand for men and £28.3 thousand for women.


In 2020, 78% of companies with more than 250 employees reported median hourly pay was higher for men.

Most employers reported the existence of a gender pay gap, government statistics showed after reporting was made obligatory for all companies with more than 250 employees. On the other hand, 14% of employers reported a pay difference in favour of women. The remaining 8% reported having the same median hourly pay for women and men.

However, the stats represent data at the start of the pandemic, when many people were furloughed or let go, meaning the numbers probably vary compared to a typical year. 

(House of Commons Library)

29% of companies with a headcount over 250 reported male employees outearned women by 20% or more. 

The latest report from the UK government on gender pay gap statistics shows the gap is smaller in larger companies with over 20 thousand employees equaling 9%. On the other hand, medium companies with up to 500 employees reported a gap of 12.7%.

However, in 2022, companies with fewer than 500 employees don’t have to report on gender differences in pay anymore, so statistics for next year won’t be as complete, knowing that more businesses are smaller than that.

(House of Commons Library)

As of June 2021, 35% of women in the UK were working part-time.

Three times more women were working part-time compared to men (11%), which explains a part of the gender wage gap in the UK. Part-time workers usually have lower wages, and as women make up a larger portion of part-time workers, the gap is higher for all employees than when comparing just part-time and full-time employees. 

(House of Commons Library)

Gender Pay Gap in the UK by Sector

At 30%, the finance and insurance sector has the highest gender wage gap in the UK looking at gross hourly wages.

Education has the second-highest gender wage gap at 25.4%, followed by information and communication at 21.9%. Professional, scientific, and technical occupations (such as legal jobs, accounting, architecture, design) had a gap of 19% on average, followed by health and social work with 18.3% on average.

The lowest gender pay gap was in accommodation and food services, as well as transport, while household employment had a negative gender wage gap of -1.9%.


The mean gender pay gap in the sector auxiliary to finance and insurance was 26.5% in 2021.

Meanwhile, the gap was somewhat smaller in the insurance and pension activities, equaling 18.7%. So what does the gap look like in pounds? Gender pay gap data shows an unpleasant reality: as of 2021, mean weekly gross earnings for women were £574.9, while mean weekly earnings for men in finance and insurance reached £900.8.


In five of the leading banks, the gender pay gap extends to bonuses as well.

Reports from the top five banks reflect the state of the finance workforce in general. The pay difference between male and female workers doesn’t stop at wages. On the contrary—it extends to bonuses, too. In 2021, the highest bonus gap was reported by the Santander UK bank with 61.8%, followed by HSBC with a slightly lower bonus pay gap of 61.2%. The lowest gap in bonuses of 42.7%, which is nevertheless shockingly high, was reported by Lloyds Bank.


Gender pay gap statistics in medicine in the UK show a difference of 18.9% for hospital doctors.

These statistics have been adjusted for the difference in working hours, meaning that the gap persists even after the difference in hours is accounted for. The adjusted gender gap for GPs is less prominent with 15.3% for GPs and 11.9% for clinical academics.

The non-adjusted gap, useful for understanding the difference between the number of working hours by gender, is 24.4% for hospital doctors, 33.5% for GPs and 21.4% for clinical academics.

(British Medical Association)

Compared to only 9.1% of men, 25.6% of women in healthcare have worked or currently work less than full time.

The main reason women doctors take time off or work less than full time is to care for others such as children or elderly family members. This affects women’s wages beyond the number of hours worked. Statistics on the gender pay gap show a consistent pattern of women having to work more outside of their workplace, especially focusing on traditionally female roles.

In short, women’s unpaid work affects the paid work of women regardless of their education and other characteristics.

(British Medical Association)

Men earned 30% more on average as travel agents and tour operators.

Speaking of the gender pay gap in the UK, facts point to its presence in hospitality and tourism as well. While tour agents and operators had the highest pay gap, passenger rail transport showed a pay gap of 19.4%, while catering had a 13.9% gender pay gap in 2021. A difference in pay equalled 11.1% in recreation, entertainment, and sports activities.

Additionally, women working in museums, libraries and in cultural activities earned 7.1% less than their male counterparts. There was a significant exception to this pattern in urban and car transport, where the pay favoured women who reported 19.9% higher earnings. 


Women in the Lawn Tennis Association were paid a mean average of 23% less than men, according to the latest stats.

When it comes to the gender pay gap in sports, statistics show the LTA has a long way to go. While the stats change throughout the measurement period between 2017 and 2019, the gender pay gap in the LTA doesn’t disappear. The mean dropped from 31% in 2017 to 25% in 2018 and 23% in 2019, while the median experienced a rise from 18% to 24% and then another fall to 20% in 2019. 


The total prize money for women in the FA Cup in England grew seven times in 2022.

Before 2022, there was an insane gap between the prize money for women and men in the FA Cup. Compared to Leicester City, who won £1.8 million in 2021, Chelsea’s female team only won £25 thousand. The prize in the first round was only £850, while the prize for the men’s teams exceeded £22 thousand.

After extensive public criticism, the prize pool was increased by £2.6 million in total, with the prize pool in 2022 being £3 million in the women’s competition. 


In 2021, the highest annual salary for a female soccer player was £200 thousand. For the best-paid male players, it was £7 million.

However, the tides have turned in 2022 both pay and the interest in female football are growing in 2022. Not only has the prize money increased, but 17.4 million people watched the England vs Germany game, making it the most-watched women’s EURO game of all time, while attendance was more than twice as high compared to the previous record.


Reasons for the Gender Pay Gap

The gender wage gap increases significantly with age.

Gender pay gap statistics around the world follow the pattern of the gap increasing with age, and the UK is no exception. The stats show a worrying trend. In 2021, the gap reached 2% for women under 21 and 4% for women aged 22 to 29. The average woman between 30 and 39 earned 12% less than the average man, while a woman between 40 and 49 earned 21% less. The gap equalled 22% for the 50 to 59 age group, shrinking to 18% after 60. 

(House of Commons Library)

Between 1997 and 2021, the gender gap for women in their forties fell by half.

One of the more encouraging gender pay gap facts is that the improvement in women’s education and work environments reduced the gender gap for each subsequent generation. The improvement in education explains about three-quarters of the reduction in the gender pay gap. Other reasons could include better work conditions, such as family-friendly workplace policies.

(House of Commons Library)

Wage gap statistics show the gender pay gap grows in the years after having children.

Between the birth of the first child and its twentieth birthday, the difference between mothers’ and fathers’ pay grows from 8% to around 30%. About half of the growth in the gap can be accounted for by mothers working less than full time. However, the second half is not accounted for, with explanations ranging from the gender commuting gap to women choosing different jobs that offer more flexibility but lower pay. 

(House of Commons Library)

28% of women work in the lowest-paying occupations.

One of the explanations for the gender pay gap in the UK, according to statistics, is that women are concentrated in jobs that pay less, while men are more concentrated in the best-paid jobs. In fact, 28% of female employees work in jobs with the lowest wages, while the same is true for only 15% of men. On the other hand, 20% of female employees held high-paying jobs, compared to 28% of men.

(House of Commons Library)


Even though it has been shrinking for decades, the gender pay gap is still present. Apart from being a problem in itself, it’s a sign of other issues women face. Those issues include shouldering most of the domestic labour, as well as having to focus on caring for the elderly and children more than men, which leaves them with less time to focus on their careers.

The good news is that the gap has been decreasing with every generation, partly because of women becoming increasingly more educated, and partly due to other changes in the business world. Still, with the pay gap in the UK at 15.4%, a lot more needs to be done. 

Gender Pay Gap Statistics for the UK: FAQ

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Dunja Radonic
Dunja Radonic
Dunja is an English Literature graduate with years of experience as a writer and translator within the financial sector. She loves diving into as many reports and numbers —especially about topics like personal finance that still need some translating to the public. When she's not working, you'll find her running wild with her pack of dogs, playing board games, or bingeing on pop science videos.